Lucia and Paola’s faces,
“We may or may not save your father, but nonetheless can lift him.
For so long you’ve been praying.
Rest and leave us with him.”
She paid them by the month.
Her father ebbed.
“A prayer is like a song.
Anyone can sing a song
and raise the atmosphere.
You can sing ‘thanks to the sun’,
feel the warmth and the cheer.
Now, say Billie Holiday —
she sings ‘thanks to the sun’
and the light bends down to hear . . .
Think of it like that.
Conceive that prayer.
Fuller, subtler, darker, brighter. Yes?”
“A carpenter will build crosses.
Tokens, yes, but to the good.
Monthly, they’ll go to Sister Mary
of the Cross, who’ll bless the wood.”
“. . . I know he’s a good man
and he’ll get the best.”
“And those of us in Conservano
will, day and night, raise a rabble —
fuller, subtler, darker, brighter,
while you . . . you rest.”